A University of Iowa professor is urging Iowans to have their homes tested for radon, an odorless gas that’s been linked to lung cancer. Bill Field, a professor of occupational and environmental health at the University of Iowa, says every Iowa home — new or old — should be tested because while your neighbors may have low levels, yours could be high.Dr. Field says radon’s been shown to cause cancer in children and adults who’ve been exposed in their home for a “prolonged” time. He says you can pick up a testing kit in most hardware stores. A short-term test costs about 15 dollars. A long-term kit’s more expensive — about 25 dollars. Field says many health departments provide the kits at a reduced cost. Field says the ideal time to test is when your house is closed up, like now, in the dead of winter. Radon has no odor or color or taste and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Iowa has the highest average radon concentration in the nation, but Field says once discovered, it doesn’t cost that much to reduce the radon to an acceptable level. January has been declared National Radon Action Month. For more information, check out www.epa.gov/radon.
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